Oakwood police urge changes after thefts from mailboxes lead to fraud

Police are investigating post office thefts of checks totaling $24,000 that were fraudulently altered and cashed in the region. FILE

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Police are investigating post office thefts of checks totaling $24,000 that were fraudulently altered and cashed in the region. FILE

Kettering police say suspects from previous mail thefts may be charged next week

Oakwood police on Friday reported a string of recent U.S. mail thefts dating back to December where the thieves then cashed stolen checks.

The Oakwood Public Safety Department urged residents not to use standalone mail drop boxes for the time being.

“Unknown individual(s) are stealing mail from drop boxes, which are located in various parts of the city, and are tampering with checks to complete fraudulent transactions,” Oakwood Public Safety officials said. “All reported incidents remain under police investigation.”

The issue is similar to a run of cases in Kettering months earlier. Kettering police began investigating reports of check theft in July 2021 after checks totaling $24,000 were fraudulently altered and cashed in the region.

Those cases involved about 15 victims who dropped checks in outdoor mailboxes at the Forrer Boulevard and East Stroop Road post offices, said Kettering Detective Vince Mason.

According to Mason, Kettering police have identified four individuals suspected of cashing the checks, with charges pending the result of grand jury deliberations in the coming week.

The Kettering stolen checks ranged from $1,625 to $2,210, according to Mason. He said the suspects took the checks, changed the name of the payee and the amount of money the checks were written for, and were then able to cash the checks.

In the new Oakwood cases, Public Safety officials urged residents to use caution.

“Due to the frequency with which this is occurring, both in Oakwood and other area communities, the Safety Department is recommending that anyone mailing something of significant importance, money, or checks do so inside the Post Office branch rather than using the standalone drop boxes,” Public Safety officials said.

Anyone who suspects their mail has been stolen or otherwise tampered with should immediately contact the Oakwood Public Safety Department at 937-298-2122 to file a report.

Federal mail theft is a felony, punishable up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000, records show.

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